U.S. Rep. McSally Leads Effort to Save Individual Market from Collapse and Provide Relief to Struggling Americans
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Martha McSally today joined with colleagues to release a bipartisan plan produced by a working group that she co-led to stabilize the individual health insurance market and provide relief to individuals, families and small businesses in the wake of inaction from Congress.
“I came to Congress to fight for my constituents and get things done. While there is a lot of attention on areas of disagreement on healthcare, I am committed to working to find areas of agreement and governing,” said Rep. McSally. “For the last several weeks, I have led a bipartisan working group with fellow members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus to find solutions we can agree upon to stabilize the individual market while also providing immediate relief to constituents, families, and small businesses. This is not about saving or killing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or scoring political points. This is about identifying and negotiating real solutions to real urgent problems and helping the people who have been harmed most by the ACA.”
Without action from the Senate, some insurance companies have begun pulling out of the individual market altogether. In Arizona, 14 of the 15 counties already have only one option, and choices will continue to dwindle. At least 25,000 individuals in 38 states are at risk of having no options for coverage in 2018. Insurers are finalizing their offerings for 2018 over the next few weeks, and without certainty and stability provided by Congress, many will be forced to set 2018 premiums even higher—or exit the individual market. Premiums are already set to rise for 2018, but without further action, they will increase an average of 20% more.
Additionally, the employer mandate, requiring those with 50 of more employees working 30 hours or more a week to provide health insurance or pay a penalty, and the medical device tax have had a negative effect on economic growth and small businesses. Providing immediate relief to small businesses was an important part of these bi-partisan discussions.
The plan put forward by the Problem Solvers Caucus is the product of collaborative negotiations over the past several weeks. The plan will provide relief by:
- Providing oversight and stability to Cost-Sharing Reductions (CSRs) by bringing them under the Congressional funding authority and funding them;
- Creating a “stability fund” that states can use to support high costs of those with pre-existing conditions, which can provide certainty and reduce premiums;
- Providing relief from employer mandate by increasing the threshold to 500 employees and making the 40 hour work week standard;
- Providing flexibility to states so they can find innovative ways to improve coverage without increasing the federal deficit;
- Repealing the destructive Medical Device Tax;
- Offsetting the costs of these proposals to ensure that this plan does not add to the federal deficit.
Click here to read the full plan.
In response to the plan put forward by Rep. McSally, the following community leaders stated:
"As the President of Arizona's largest Latino business organization, I appreciate the leadership of Congresswoman McSally and the bipartisan committee when the Affordable Care Act negotiations had failed,” said Lea Márquez Peterson, President of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “Our letter to Senators McCain and Flake spoke about the unaffordability of health insurance for our nation's small businesses. We asked for a solution specific to the private marketplace. We believe this is a great starting point for solving our nation's health insurance challenges. I commend Congresswoman McSally on leading discussions that have resulted in a solution for Arizona businesses."
“The Tucson Metro Chamber applauds Congresswoman Martha McSally for her efforts to lead a bi-partisan problem-solving group to address healthcare issues,” said Michael Varney, President and CEO of the Tucson Metro Chamber of Commerce. “A recent survey of Tucson-area businesses demonstrated that the subject of healthcare is a major challenge facing employers across our region. Partisan conflict in Washington, D.C. has long dominated the discussion of this topic. Solutions will only be found when reasonable people gather to explore possibilities for compromise. We look forward to hearing more about the progress of this visionary group of Congressional representatives.”